By Tom Ehrich
“Are you ready!” blared the loudspeaker at 50th and Broadway. “Are you ready for the greatest words in the English language?”
Considering the source – a storefront below a huge Snapple sign – I suspect they meant something like “Made from the best stuff on Earth.” Or words from the Orbach Theater next door: “Try to remember.”
Or on the day after Opening Day, something seasonal like “Play ball!” Or as the world prepares to pause for horsepower, “Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!”
Anyway, as I strolled down the “Great White Way,” I mused about what I would consider the “greatest words.”
First up came the three words we all ache to hear: “I love you.” Spoken to one’s partner, spoken to a child, spoken to a friend, these words change everything.
Then the three words of Good Friday, “It is finished.” Or perhaps the three words we hope Jesus is saying for us, “Father, forgive them.”
Maybe the sound of silence on Holy Saturday, when the only ones speaking were a nervous posse of religious leaders pressuring Pilate into sealing the tomb.
Or the Easter shout, “He is risen!” Those are great words. They contain our hope, the practical sign of God’s “I love you” to creation.
I couldn’t decide. I knew that news flashes winding around a building at 43rd Street weren’t words of greatness.
Then I ducked into my college club for a moment and heard two wonderful words: “Good morning!” said the concierge. “Good morning!” said the desk clerk. “Good morning!” I replied.
“Good morning!” said an empty tomb.
“Good morning!” says the Risen Christ.